Listeria Outbreak: Dole Packaged Salad Linked To 12 Bacteria Infections And One Death [Breaking]

A new listeria outbreak linked to prepackaged salads has killed one person and left 12 others hospitalized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the salads came from a Springfield, Ohio processing facility owned by Dole.

Thus far, a dozen people from Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Indiana have been sent to the hospital with the bacteria infection. The one person who died was in Michigan. The age range of the people infected are between the ages of 3 and 83-years-old.

Reports of the listeria infections have been traced back to July 2015. The CDC began an investigation in September 2015, but the source of the bacteria was unknown until lab tests verified the salads came from the Springfield facility.

According to the CDC, packaged salads labeled under the Dole, Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar, and President’s Choice should not be eaten. Packaged salads with the letter “A” at the beginning of the manufacturing code are possibly tainted with listeria and must be discarded.

As of Thursday, Dole has stopped all production at the Springfield plant and is recalling all packaged salads that may still be on the market. So far, no salads made at any other facilities are contaminated.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is also investigating an outbreak of listeria in five eastern provinces. So far, seven Canadians have been hospitalized and one has died.

Three of the patients are in Ontario, while New Brunswick, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland, as well as Labrador have each reported one case.

“One person has died, however, it has not been determined if listeria contributed to the cause of death,” the PHAC statement said. “At this time, the risk to Canadians is low.”

Canadian health officials have not confirmed if the current listeria outbreak in Canada is linked to the cases in the U.S. According to a statement earlier this week, the source has not been verified, but prepackaged leafy greens, salad blends, and various salad kits are suspected.

A previous listeria outbreak that started last spring affected Blue Bell Creameries LP. After several people in Texas and Kansas became ill with a listeria infection, a CDC investigation subsequently linked the sickness to Blue Bell ice cream. On March 13, 2015, the ice cream producer recalled all of its products produced at facilities in Texas and Oklahoma.

By the time the outbreak was over, eight cases of listeria infection were verified to have come specifically from Blue Bell products. After an intensive cleanup, a major revision of sanitation procedures, and approval from regulatory agencies, Blue Bell once again began manufacturing and shipping ice cream in August.

As reported previously by the Inquisitr, a listeria outbreak in 2014 was linked to unrefrigerated caramel apples. A total of 35 cases from 12 states were reported and seven people died from the infection. People reported getting sick around mid-October and reports extended just past Halloween.

Dole pre-packaged salad is contaminated with listeria.
Prepackaged salad made by Dole has been linked to a recent listeria outbreak. [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
Listeria is a dangerous bacterium that causes listeriosis, an infection of the gastrointestinal tract. The signs of an infection include high fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, stiffness, and nausea.

Food contaminated with listeria may taste and look normal. Unlike most bacteria, it can survive and even thrive on food stored in the refrigerator.

Uncooked meat, vegetables, unpasteurized milk, cheeses, ready-to-eat meats like hot dogs, and refrigerated fish are the most at risk of harboring listeria. To avoid the bacteria, food should be cleaned and cooked properly, including sanitizing of surfaces used for food preparation.

Listeriosis usually begins within three days of eating a contaminated food, while the disease can incubate for up to 70 days after exposure.

Pregnant women, the elderly, children, and anyone with a weakened immune system are particularly vulnerable. A listeria infection is typically treated with antibiotics, but if left untreated, the infection can be deadly.

Roughly 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths are caused each year from listeria infection outbreaks. Other food-borne diseases like salmonella are typically minor and often go unreported.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

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